Parasitic worms (helminths) cause some of the world’s most neglected diseases, affecting billions of animals and people worldwide. Despite efforts to control these insidious diseases, no commercial vaccines are available, current diagnostic methods are inadequate, and treatment relies heavily on only a small number of drugs. Because drug resistance is a major threat, there is an urgent need to develop new interventions.
Our group is working to develop new interventions by establishing bioinformatics pipelines for the prioritisation of parasite proteins as new drug targets or vaccine candidates. To date, we have demonstrated that genomic-guided drug discovery can correctly predict known drug targets and repurposed drugs to target parasite proteins. We are now in the process of validating the essentiality of our prioritised genes/molecules by gene knockdown in key developmental stages. Your project will build on our existing computational and laboratory work to establish free-living and parasite models to determine the phenotype of worms following knockdown of drug target proteins using RNAi and/or CRISPR/Cas9. Your research will help refine our computational predictions and take our research one step closer to developing the next generation of intervention strategies to treat parasitic diseases.
This project requires extensive experience in molecular biology and/or experimentation with small invertebrates but is open to applicants with experience in the biological and/or biochemical sciences. You can find out more about Parasitology at Melbourne University by visiting the listed website or contacting Neil Young
Although a PhD scholarship stipend (AUD 32,304 pa) is available for this project, the eligible applicant will apply through The University of Melbourne Postgraduate Research Scholarship system. Information on how to apply is available upon request.